State Budget Task Force

Responsible and limited spending is critical to the future fiscal health of the State of Texas. Limiting spending is the central means to keep the economy strong and create opportunities for individuals and families to prosper.

A conservative approach to appropriations will be especially important in the 82nd Legislature, when the state could face a revenue shortfall as a result of the economic downturn. In the 2010-2011 Biennial Revenue Estimate, the Comptroller projects that the state “is expected to show some significant economic declines” in years 2010 and 2011. The implications of these “significant economic declines” will likely weigh considerably upon the 82nd Legislature.

Legislators have successfully faced a sizeable deficit in recent history. The 78th Legislature met the challenge posed by a $10 billion revenue shortfall through fiscal restraint, and without raising taxes.

Prior to the commencement of the 78th Legislature, as early revenue projections looked dire, TCCRI hosted a State Finance Task Force to help legislators address what would ultimately become the $10 billion budget shortfall. The Task Force report issued to the 78th Legislature, A Roadmap to Responsible Reform (January 14, 2003), reviewed state spending priorities, laid out structural changes in state appropriations and management, and identified areas for cost savings.

A similar exercise is crucial for the Interim preceding the 82nd Legislature. The experiences of the 78th Legislature and the 2002 State Finance Task Force will instruct the work of the 2009 State Budget Task Force.

In anticipation of a potential shortfall for the 2012-2013 biennium, the State Budget Task Force will outline a range of possible budget reforms and program reductions to assist legislators in addressing what could be a significant challenge. In addition, conservatives should begin developing a long-term strategy for state debt.

A comprehensive review of state spending will arm legislators to pass a conservative budget for the 2012-2013 biennium.